Happy New Year
fter so many years of wars and possessing lands that God gave to them, God gave Joshua and His people rest, this rest period brought what mountaintop experience often bring (when we are not watchful) - lethargy. Close to the end of his life, Joshua called the leaders of all the tribes and said to them "...but if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.”
I believe 2014 is shaping to be one of those seasons for many who professes the name of The Lord, many like Phil Robertson (Duck Commander) would face stiff opposition on what they believe as the world literarily call the bible and its content hate speech and it would be a crime to quote or believe in the bible.
The foundation for the shaking about to take place has been laid for decades, unfortunately believers were not discerning and were busy with the things of this world. The enemy took over our institutions (education, media, entertainment, religious, etc.) while entertaining us, and got us hooked on the effects (things that come after being plugged in) of our faith and not its essence (relationship with Christ - based on Holy Living and total Obedience). The church has lost many generations to this wiles/schemes/lies of the enemy, and we've found ourselves at the crossroads, like Joshua, like the people of Nineveh, like Moses (several times) deciding between repenting and sticking with who brought us to the dance, or being selfish and going with the guy who "seem" to be the best dancer on the floor?
In 2014, not everybody would be in the forefront to have to make a public declaration, but I believe those in leaders (national, state and city, even communities) from faith to political will have nowhere to hide but to declare whose side they are chosen. However, everyone would need to take a stand, even if it is with friends.
Standing for God, does not have to be in the political arena (some will), however, it must be done where you are, Phil Robertson (Duck Commander) is not a political leader, just an ordinary person who made money doing a weird stuff and chose to glorify God by standing on His word through it. For many of us, standing would start in within us, then in our homes, then on our job, then in our communities, but it cannot go beyond us until we chose to Stand first from within.
Standing for God within
Jesus became our Prince of Peace, to reconcile us back to our Father in heaven, according to the Bible we can now enter into the throne room of God boldly because of the blood of Jesus Christ.
At birth every human is spiritually dead (our spirit is separated from God), and when we accept Christ as Lord and Savior (see Romans 10: 9-10), the the Holy Spirit connects with our spirit connecting us to our Father in heaven. This reconciliation begins the relationship with God from within, in a process theologians call "sanctification", and "transformation" by the renewing of our mind (storage unit in science called hippocampus).
After the above processes (sanctification and transformation), we must then willingly yield ourselves within, to be utterly obedient to God's written word and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Standing for your Home
Apostle Paul wrote to his proteges (Timothy and Titus), that one of the very important conditions for leadership within the church is someone who has led or leads his home well (that condition is by the way now, it is now more financial status).
Standing for Christ in your own home require the Holy Spirit, because there is no book out there that tells you "how to" on a minute by minute basis, only concepts or principles. First, we have to master living with a spouse (husband-man/wife-woman) with different nature and nurturing, then together, we try to raise kids with unique natures (temperaments) primarily in the ways of The Lord, so that they have their personal encounter with Christ and that they would not depart from the Way they were taught as adults. After we've done these, we simply stand (offer advice when needed) and pray for them through their own struggles.
There is no better joy in life (my opinion), when you, your spouse and children, individually have a relationship with God that is reflected in their character, not some religious eye service without godly fruit. Today we contend with a lot of distraction for the lives of our children.
Standing for the Faith
As the new sect called the Way grew, the powers of the Sanhedrin council started to diminish and threatened, so after a miracle and subsequent conversion, the council called Peter (Simon) and flogged him (after deliberating) telling him not to preach Christ anymore.
One of my mentors would always say "Truth is Confrontational", to those who are perishing I will add. God's truth always sound condemning rather than convicting, hence the bible is seen as judgmental, so in a world (western) where immorality is now the order of the day, contending for the faith is becoming more like the days of the apostles all over again or what brethren in the Middle-East and China face daily.
2014 will be a year that many of us would have to stand or contend for our faith. Faith leaders who are now choosing to remain silent would be exposed, and they'll have no choice that to declare their allegiance to either the kingdom of darkness or the kingdom of light. Pastoral leadership would have to decide if they want a full church and entertainment based on "corporate" model or they'll be obedient to their calling and follow the "discipleship" model and teach Truth, letting the Holy Spirit do the convicting.
As cities and state enact immoral laws, individuals would have to face the decision to stand for what they believe, those on the fence would be confronted by their "friends", on the job we'll face the test of our faith, and many would again have to make the same choice that Joshua made in front of the people, as for me and my house we will serve, fear...?
As we stand, first within ourselves, then in our homes, then stand for the faith in a very dark world, we must also keep at the back of our mind, that the battle is the Lords, so we must keep leadership of our homes (dads), faith and political leaders (pastors and elected officials) in prayer, as the enemy of God (Satan) believes that this is a season of beat down, since our moral guards are down anyway.
The biggest obstacles we'll face in our standing, is the Enemy, the World System and Ourselves.
The enemy of God is the Devil, he runs the kingdom of darkness and he's been turning humans (God's creation) against God for thousands of years, using the same tricks of deceits, schemes or wiles. He suggests half truths into our mind and we take it from there based on our will and lack of understanding.
Satan also indirectly influences our world system, but through human beings who wholly subscribes to his kingdom principles through human institutions, such as media, entertainment, religion, education, government, family, economy etc., these principles either directly or subtly contradicts God's principles, and it encourages humans to rationalize God's laws.
In my opinion, the biggest obstacle is ourselves through our will. As humans, the same intellect that God gave us we are now using to rationalize our way out of His Will, we pack ourselves into atmospheres that tickles our ear not the one that speaks truth, when we are convicted by Holy Spirit based on God's word we join unbelievers to call it condemnation of judging! So rather than serve God in Spirit and in Truth, we prefer serving with emotion and using our intellect to justify our stupid rationalization.
I don' know when Christ would return, and honestly i'm not so sure it's that important to me, what I tell my children (and myself) is, we all better be prepared for His return on a daily basis, He might show up for any of us at anytime or He might show up in the sky?, so live everyday as if it's the last (guessing dates is stupid - the signs Jesus said in Matthew 24 is already happening). One thing that is very certain is, times would get harder for those who profess the true Christ and 2014 would not be an exception, but take heart our Father has already overcome the world and Jesus has already declared victory, and has handed us what we need to Stand even in a perverse world, as the one we live in today.
May the Holy Spirit bring more revelation of the words written above to you (in-spite of the human frailty of the writer).